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Crowds flock to watch Andy Murray beat Dmitry Popko in straight sets in what could be the last time the former Wimbledon champion plays at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena, as he thanks fans for a special moment
- Andy Murray beats Kazakhstan’s Dmiry Popko at the Davis Cup in Glasgow
- The 35-year-old said the crowd felt very special at the Emirates Arena
- Team GB avoided finishing at the bottom of the group with a 2-1 win over Kazakhstan
Dead rubber or not, the crowds were still flocking to watch Andy Murray play the Davis Cup at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena, possibly for the last time.
Murray admitted afterwards that the potential parting nature of yesterday’s performance had made him emotional in the last few games.
After a slow start, he eventually defeated Kazakhstan’s little-known Dmitry Popko 6-4, 6-3, with the match of a symbolic nature as Great Britain had already confirmed it had missed the final week in November.
Andy Murray celebrates his 6-3, 6-4 victory over Dmirty Popko at the Davis Cup in Glasgow
“I’m glad I went out and played today. The audience made it special.
“If it’s the last time, it’ll be great,” said the 35-year-old Scot, encouraged by the first capacity turnout of the week.
“I’m sorry we might not get the chance to play here again. I didn’t think about it until around 5-2 today, honestly, in the second set. I kind of felt that at the end. I lost my focus a bit and it got a bit emotional.’ While the gradually setting sun on a major player’s career is a cause for melancholy, conversely, it is accompanied by a certain amount of optimism.
Murray simply cannot justify a selection going forward after last week’s disappointing departure due to defeats by the US and the Netherlands. This will increasingly be the case as 20-year-old Jack Draper (currently injured) continues his rapid upward trajectory and Kyle Edmund comes close to his previous level after knee problems.
Fans flocked to see Murray in what was a ‘special moment’ for the former Wimbledon champion
The win could be the last time Glasgow’s Emirates Arena sees Murray in competitive action
“Come on, it’s obviously not going to be easy with the players we have,” Murray admitted. “Someone like Jack Draper is getting better and better. He will be involved with the team for many years to come. Then of course I don’t know which way the captain will go with the doubles after the result here.’ Nevertheless, it is possible that Murray will be back in Glasgow as early as February.
The GB team will have to play in a qualifying play-off at that point to get back into this week’s group stage. That after what was a major downside to the wider feel-good factor surrounding the elite end of the British game that has developed this year.
The top priority for Captain Leon Smith is to try to determine his best doubles team from the many variants available.
Murray and Joe Salisbury both lost their deciding doubles. While their performances weren’t disastrous against experienced teams, there seemed to be a lack of chemistry.
The British Davis Cup team managed to avoid finishing at the bottom of their group with Murray’s win
There was certainly an excess of confidence in Murray by Smith on previous skills, having barely played in the format for three years.
Part of the problem is that Salisbury and Neal Skupski both have foreign partners they wouldn’t want to part with. One possible future would be to look at Skupski and Dan Evans, who reached two Masters finals together last year.
GB avoided last place in their group when they took a 2-1 win over the Kazakhs last night. After Cam Norrie lost to Alexander Bublik 6-4, 6-3, Salisbury and Skupski defeated Bublik and Aleksandr Nedovyesov 7-6, 6-7, 7-6.